CHASKA, Minn., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- With dreams of the Grand Slam having been blown away at Muirfield, Tiger Woods will try to become the first player in history to win three majors in a season twice at the PGA Championship, which begins Thursday at the Hazletine Golf Club.
Woods became the first player since Jack Nicklaus 30 years ago to claim the first two majors of the season before he traveled to Scotland for the British Open last month.
With a career-worst 81 in the third round at Muirfield, Woods' run at becoming the first player ever to win all four majors in the same year came to an end. But he has a new goal this week.
Only Woods and Ben Hogan have won three majors in one calendar year and Woods is trying to become the first to do it twice, having claimed the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship in 2000.
"Any time you can win one major championship in a year, it's going to be a successful year," he said. "I think winning two in one year so far, it's been even better. I'd like to make it three."
Woods also can be the first golfer to earn all three major titles held in the United States during the same season, which will not be easy since the best field in the history of golf has been assembled.
Ready to tee off at Hazeltine are 98 of the top 100 players in the World Golf Rankings, the highest percentage at any event since the system began in 1986.
"It's the toughest conditions, the best players in the world," said Woods, who won last week's Buick Open for his 33rd PGA Tour victory. "It's tough. It really is tough."
Woods has won seven of the last 12 major championships, and the man who won the most recent one fully appreciates the difficulty in dealing with the No. 1 golfer in the planet.
"I think the way Tiger has won some majors makes it tough," said Ernie Els, who won the first four-way playoff in major championmship history at the British Open. "He's such a competitive player, when he's right on his game he can blow other people out of the water quite easily."
"He's the man to beat this week," said six-time major winner. "So we'll see what we can do."
What Woods can do is become just the fifth player in history to win the PGA Championship three times, joining Walter Hagen (5), Jack Nicklaus (5), Gene Sarazen (3) and Sam Snead (3).
PGA Championship accomplishments often go unnoticed, since it is the last major of the year. But a major's a major to Woods.
"I've won it twice and I would like to add my name to that list again," he said. "It's the last major of the year and you always want to end it on a good note."
Woods will begin his quest at 9:35 a.m. EDT in the company of Els and defending champion David Toms.